The Royal Queensland Show was well and truly back to it's pre-COVID glory last week, with more than 750 head of stud cattle and some 233 led steers and heifers paraded through the main ring during beef week.
The two days of stud cattle competition culminated on the Champion of Champions contest on Saturday afternoon, where judges Erica Halliday, Ben Nevis Angus, Walcha, NSW, Scott Ferguson, Glen Oaks, Nobby, and international judge PJ Budler made their decision in front of a full main ring crowd.
Here's who came away as 2023's major victors.
Echoes of the victory anthem We Are the Champions could be heard throughout the cattle sheds and down through the grounds on Saturday afternoon as Hereford breeders cheered home their champion interbreed bull, Truro Sherlock, and owner Scotty Hann.
"There would have been about 40 people there lined up with a boom box, yelling and cheering," Mr Hann said.
"I almost started to cry."
Being the first time that a Hereford bull has taken the major award since its inception, it's no surprise that the win had breeders excited.
"It means so much to us as a breed," Mr Hann said.
"I love it that we've done it, but it just put the breed on notice to everybody else, because we are coming.
"If we can start delivering more bulls like that, then we'll get the breed back to where it used to be."
After a seven year hiatus from showing, Scotty and Pip Hann of Truro Whiteface, Bellata, NSW, signalled their return, as they overcame the Brahman and Shorthorn bulls in the final lineup to win the champion of champions trophy.
Judge Scott Ferguson commended Sherlock for his "enormous amount of eye muscle, ideal at cover and beautiful bone."
"While he maintains all his thickness over the top and thickness down behind, he's beautiful through the loins and hindquarter," Mr Ferguson said.
"He's just beautifully made through the shoulder and up to a great head and neck, and he's certainly well balanced.
"When we're talking seedstock, balance is an enormous thing, and I have a feeling that well balanced cattle go to breed on. This bull, every time we've seen him, he pulls up perfectly, he certainly gets around well.
"No matter what breed you breed, he is a remarkable individual."
The Hanns described the win as unbelievable, but said they knew that Sherlock was the bull to launch them back onto the show scene.
"We knew he was something special," Ms Hann said.
"He's gone better than we could have imagined."
Sherlock has seen plenty of success on the circuit this year, including winning supreme Hereford exhibit at the Sydney Royal Show in April, and the Taroom show's coveted Super Bull Challenge.
The couple said the bull had a "wonderful personality and a real presence about him."
It will be a bitter sweet goodbye for the family when buyers have the chance to take home the supreme champion from the Truro Whiteface on-property spring sale on August 28.
A Red Angus female with limited show appearances made sure all those at the Royal Queensland Show last week knew her name.
GK Red Dina 624 S2 and her six-month-old bull calf Unit, also known as Frankie, were catapulted into the limelight when judges Erica Halliday, Ben Nevis, Walcha, NSW, Scott Ferguson, Glen Oaks, Nobby, and PJ Budler, USA, awarded them the interbreed female on Saturday.
Ms Halliday told the crowd they were looking for the animal that was the best representation of their breed and what a sustainable beef industry needed.
She noted how impressed all three judges were with the champion's udder.
"We really liked the extra spring of dimension through her calf, the spring of dimension through her rib, out through her hip and down through her hindquarter," she said.
The Red Dina was a daughter of Red Cockburn Assassin 624D and GK Red Dina 240 M29 and overcame the Droughtmaster and Santa Gertrudis females in second and third, from an initial line up of 20 females.
Owner Kirrily Johnson-Iseppi from GK Livestock, Dalby said the cow hadn't had many show appearances.
"So she came here last year as a heifer looking really good and she slipped on a mat in the shed coming down to the judging ring and hurt herself a little bit so she didn't really place last year and she hasn't really been anywhere else," she said.
Despite her champion win, as well as being dual registered in the Angus and Red Angus societies and carrying GK's only bull calf from America's Bieber Spartan E639, Ms Johnson-Iseppi hasn't wavered in offering the pair for sale at the Power of Reds on September 9.
"She is by a Canadian bull I bought in myself and she is probably the second season of females we have got in production by that Canadian bull," she said.
"I like to put some of the very best females up for sale and all the females I've got in the sale I really would like to keep but I think that she would make a lovely foundation female or a donor female for someone.
"She is right where I want to be with Red Angus."
GK Livestock took out the pairs competition in 2015 but this was their first female interbreed win.
"It's pretty exciting for our Red Angus breed because it's not a huge breed and society in the country so it's good PR for the breed and gets people to just take a second look," Ms Johnson-Iseppi said.
It was a dream run for the Childs family of Glenlands J Droughtmasters, Dingo, whose bull and female duo were awarded the champion of champions breed pair ribbon on Saturday afternoon.
The bull, Glenlands J Eldorado, and female, Glenlands J Cherish, had both been pulled up to the top five line during the judging of the interbeed bull and female, but it was a case of saving the best until last for the family, who secured the final stud cattle award for 2023.
Jason and Carissa Childs, and their sons Ryan and Brendon, will return to Central Queensland with a truck load of silverware after taking out numerous ribbons in the Droughtmaster breed judging on Friday afternoon, including both grand champions, before progressing to the interbreed final.
The family said they had come close to a major win several times in the past, having their cattle brought up to the front line of five on numerous occasions, but this was the first time they had made it to the very front of the pack.
Mr Childs said they were "over the moon" with the result, as it was something they had been working towards for quite a long time.
"It's a combination of almost 30 years of coming down here with cattle, and trying to get to that point," he said.
"So it's very nice to finally get there."
Droughtmaster breeders everywhere would have been rejoicing on Saturday afternoon, being the first time the breed has ever won the interbreed pair contest.
"It's really great for the breed, as well as us," Mr Childs said.
When announcing the decision on behalf of his fellow judges, PJ Budler said the Droughtmaster pair were "cut from the same cloth".
"There is massive sense of bodies on these cattle, so easy fleshing and tremendous muscle shape on both of them," he said.
"The female is a feminine version of the bull, but she is lady-like, and athletic on the move.
"Good functional udder on her and she's doing a good job on her bull calf. There's so much growth and performance in that calf.
"The bull is incredible. I love the head and neck on that bull, I like his tropically adapted skin.
"To put that much muscle and mass into a bull of that frame with that strong top, and still get him to move around like he does, with those testicles and clean sheath, he's outstanding."
The champion bull will sell as lot 16 in Glenlands' annual bull sale on September 14.
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